I went deer hunting this year, just like I always do. I’ve been invited into a 100 year+ family hunting tradition (same spot every year!) which has truly been an honor. There’s just one problem! The hunting regulations have changed, and that means you’re not likely to see a legal deer. It’s still very much worth it as a trip to keep the tradition alive, and to spend time with good friends and family.
This year I went again to this hunting camp, and again did not see any deer. But all that changed after I got home to the UR Ranch! And I would use a different rifle than I planned on using for deer this year, so now I have some unique insights to share!
I was talking on the phone in the UR Cabin, and thought I saw something “funny” out the window. I don’t usually see bucks down by the cabin, but this time things changed. A hansom buck was not 70 yards away out the window! I took a moment to turn on my ATN Binox 4K 4-16 binoculars and got a good look.
These binoculars record video and can also take pictures, just what I needed for this “hunt”. I zoomed in on the buck, and captured him and his does just “hanging out” eating plants on the hillside. WOW. Seriously? Can this be happening? Yes…
Above: still image straight off the Binox 4K taken out the front door of the UR Cabin. This is simply the best way to capture hunting action!
Then I thought to myself: I better grab a rifle! I had my custom 300 PRC rifle nearby, and also some Hornady 300 PRC Precision Hunter 212 grain ELD-X ammo. I thought- let’s give this a try! In the time it took me to gather the rifle, ammo, and hearing protection, the buck had moved up the hill a bit. So I hiked a short distance, and steadied the rifle on a large rock. Then, I took one of the easiest shots I could imagine- a broadside kill shot at about 50 yards. I aimed right above the shoulder, pulled the trigger, and BOOM: the deer was down instantly.
This buck rolled a short distance down hill, and came to rest next to a large rock. What was really convenient was the fact that this buck was only about 40 yards from an access road I put in, and up hill from it no less! In about 5 minutes, I was able to let “gravity do the work”, pulling the deer down the hill by his antlers.
I drove the backhoe up to the deer, tilted the bucket down, and rolled the buck into the bucket. In about 3 minutes, I had the buck moved to my butchering area: a 40′ shipping container with an engine crane inside. Having an engine crane on hand is great for when you want to hang the deer up to let the meat cure. The meat turned out GREAT: with leg meat pretty much tasting as good as backstrap. Can’t wait to make stew, roasts, and more. I didn’t end up grinding any of the meat, and didn’t add anything (fat or spices) to it.
300 PRC For Deer Hunting
Is 300 PRC overkill for deer hunting? That’s a good question that only you can answer for yourself. Let’s explore the factors and recount my experiences.
As mentioned in the video, I was using factory ammunition: Hornady 300 PRC Precision Hunter 212 grain ELD-X:
Pushing a 212 grain bullet at about 2880 FPS, this cartridge packs a serious punch! I’ve used ELD-X in the past for hunting (including a black bear kill last year) and have had great results. And with this year’s deer I was also very happy with the results. There wasn’t a lot of internal damage all things considered, and the bullet’s jacket (see below) came to rest inside the deer against the far-side hide. The bullet’s core barely penetrated the far side.
Could I have killed this deer with 243 Winchester, 308 Winchester, or 6.5 Creedmoor? Absolutely. But I used what I had on hand, and it worked great. To use an analogy: I’d rather have a 1 ton diesel pick up and tow a small trailer than have a 1/2 ton gas truck pulling a big trailer. Bring enough gun.
With 300 PRC, you are prepared for anything in North America. And then there’s 6.5 PRC- more on that shortly (make sure you’re subscribed).
300 PRC Lethal Ballistics
One question you may ask is: “how far is 300 PRC lethal to”? Using the Hornady 300 PRC Precision Hunter 212 grain ELD-X featured in this article as an example, let’s run some numbers.
From the Hornady 4-DOF online Ballistic Calculator (click/tap to enlarge):
I do know from talking with Hornady that ELD-X bullets are engineered to have lethal expansion down to around 1600 FPS. From the chart above we can see that this load will hold 1600 FPS+ out to 1000 yards! That’s pretty amazing. I’m not recommending that you hunt big game at 1000 yards, that’s an ethical dilemma you’ll have to ponder for yourself. A LOT can happen in 1000 yards bullet flight time. The animal could move, wind could deflect the bullet, and more. But it’s good to know that 300 PRC has knock-down power to spare, even at 1000 yards.
I will choose 300 PRC for hunting big game like large Bear and Elk. I could also use 6.5 PRC for this class of game (once I finish my rifle build that is), but 300 PRC is hard to fault for these big animals. What this all illustrates to me is how versatile 300 PRC can be. Target performance to 1 mile and beyond, and hunting capabilities to 1000 yards. What can’t 300 PRC do?
Also- I have another 300 PRC build coming- make sure you’re subscribed!